It’s Easter Week and Passover. A time for joyous celebrations of remembrance. Families get together for traditional meals. My family usually had a nice juicy roast lamb. There are many fun activities for kids. On the streets, there were of course Easter bunnies, parades and festivals, plenty of chocolate, sunrise services, and Easter egg hunts. My daughter said she even saw an Easter tree, much like a Christmas tree, where you bought ornaments to put on it, just like at Christmas. Easter is everywhere. Stores have aisles devoted to it. Wherever we look there are decorations and advertising celebrating it.
But this year, Easter 2020, is different. A good portion of people, including myself, are locked down in their homes while the virus rages. Hospitals are struggling to care for the many gravely ill. Essential workers are trying tirelessly to give care to those suffering. Countries are running out of caskets with so many are succumbing to this plaque. People are fearful of today, tomorrow and the future. Our way of life is changing. Many are concerned we will never recover. Some have lost jobs. There are rumors of recession. We are grieving the loss of close in-person relationships we once enjoyed, as people sit alone and wait for this crisis to end. Churches have resorted to meeting in video chat rooms. All of those great Easter events we enjoyed are now cancelled. No big celebrations that once marked the season can take place.
My devotional reading this week, working though the Bible again, has interestingly enough taken me through not just one Easter record, but two: the ones in Luke and John. I’m not sure which I like best. My reading this time seemed so much more alive and so much more detailed than the many, many other times I read those same passages. This year I really got to thinking about the Passover feast and it’s foretelling of Jesus’ sacrifice, paying the price once and for all for our sins and today’s situation.
I couldn’t help but consider how this very unique Easter Passover celebration of remembrance is more of a reminder than most years. Perhaps this crazy, tragic Easter is really another “Divine Appointment”. Those as “appointments” I see God “scheduling” in life that only He can orchestrate: They are, in essence, events scheduled for us at a particular time and place that somehow fulfills His plan that shows His glory and His hand at work. I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps, this unique Easter is really a “Divine Appointment“ for us all.
When I look at the people of Israel, sitting in slavery in Egypt that first Passover, I see families hunkered down in their homes in fear. They were told to keep safe, stay home, and remain in isolation. Plagues had ravaged Egypt, one after the other. The sacrificial lamb gave its life as prescribed. The blood of the lamb was painted on the entry to their homes (which formed a cross across the door) protecting those inside while they listened to the wails and cries of Egyptian parents filling the streets at the discovery that their first born sons dead. I’m sure it was terrifying. The Israelites were then liberated, but fear followed them as the Pharoah’s full military strength pursued them to the Red Sea. And then, of course, fear of the desert. But in remembering, we can now see the hand of the Almighty God at work.
Later, it was not mere coincidence that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of Easter occurred during the remembrance of Passover. It was a Divine Appointment for the world. After all, Passover pointed towards Jesus, as the sacrificial Lamb of God, giving His life to pay the price, once and for all for our sins, and bringing us into a resurrection with Him into eternal life, feasting at His joyous table. Jesus’ blood, just like was foreshadowed at the original Passover, freed us from slavery to sin And protects us. Just like during the original Passover, however, Jesus’ disciples gathered around the table to remember, in fear. The religious leaders had plotted for a long time to arrest — even stone Jesus to death. He had purposely stayed out of Jerusalem because they were plotting against Him. He only went when He knew His time had come. He had just ridden into town with the population lining the streets crying at the top of their lungs that the blessed King had arrived. It wasn’t exactly a quiet entry if someone was trying to hide from the authorities! The disciples I’m sure had mixed feelings, many questions, and a lot of uncertainty. How was the Messiah King Jesus going to fulfill prophecy? Yet I’m sure they knew it was only a matter of time before the Roman guards would come knocking on their door. After all, many had warned Jesus not to come. But He did. It was a “Divine Appointment”.
I can’t help but think that perhaps this Easter is another Divine Appointment for us today. Like Easter was scheduled during Passover with a purpose, I somehow think that this virus is occurring over Easter Passover with the same level of Divine purpose. Stripped of all the trappings, commercialism, Easter egg hunts, and stuffed bunnies, perhaps this simple Easter is forcing back to one of pure remembrance and thankfulness for God’s deliverance. Perhaps it is exactly what is needed to free us from our modern day slavery. As we sit protected in our homes, waiting for the angel of death to pass, listening to the wail of grief echo across the globe in all nations, the remembrance this Easter Passover somehow seems to connect us to those prior generations. It is perhaps, as with those before us, it a liberating act of healing in a way only the Eternal God, acting across the centuries, can prescribe. Today, I am thankful for the gift of this special Easter.
May your Easter Passover remembrance be covered with His peace.
“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of Jesus. While they were there wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered…”Luke 24:1-8